One can definitely appreciate music more when you find a way to break it down and not just listen to it, but embrace it. I will say, Canadian-bred country singer Brittany Kennell’s mix of sweet and sour gives something to touch a wide spectrum of music lovers.
Songs like “Don’t You Worry” and “Make Up Your Mind” off of her 2015 album, Motions, carry powerful and meaningful lyrics to kind and calming tunes. To me, it’s like when I heard Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” for the first time- it’s the same equation. Add the sweet yet raspy tone of her voice, and you’re on a musical journey that is pure and true to the heart.
Originally from Montreal, Canada, Kennell moved to the U.S to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After that, she spent eight years of her life in Nashville in hopes to be signed. In 2016, Kennell auditioned for The Voice for Season 10 as the only Canadian to ever be on the U.S. version of the NBC singing competition.
After leaving The Voice, Brittany pursued a more pop-oriented sound, but eventually found her way back to Folk and Country, releasing her latest single, “Eat Drink Remarry” in 2020.
Just like poetry, “Eat Drink Remarry” can be interpreted in different ways to the average listener. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that just because you hear the music and listen to the lyrics differently than the other person next to you, doesn’t mean you’re wrong. I listened to Kennell’s single repeatedly trying to take in every lyric, connect the dots, and analyze the song as a whole.
This bittersweet melody also expresses how one shouldn’t apologize for following their heart. Kennell manages to relate to those with relationship and commitment issues, but also one who may be unhappy in life and needing a change. It’s not just relating to a significant other or relationships.
From a woman’s perspective, Kennell’s latest single is empowering to women everywhere. Kennell expresses frustration, and grabs a hold of her life and steers it in the direction that she wants, with or without a man.
Take hold of your life, make your own mistakes, learn from them, and repeat. We caught up with Kennell who was kind enough to talk about the single and much more.
Can you talk about where you grew up, and who or what got you into playing and writing music?
I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal, in a town called Beaconsfield. I started playing piano at 7 years old and later took on singing and guitar. I can’t really say there was one direct correlation to who or what got me into playing music but I think I was just always intrigued by all the music around me, whether it be at school or within our family home.
What is your songwriting process like? Is it more regimented and structured, or does it happen more randomly and sporadically?
It’s definitely evolved over the years. Initially, I wrote alone and more freely. Once I moved to Nashville, I really adapted the co-writing scene – I said yes to every write I could! I definitely became more strategic with what I was writing or who I was writing it for. Now I feel like my “Nashville Writing Bootcamp” training is over, and with the thousands of writes I had, I can use those tools while tapping into my own creative channel. I constantly have my songwriting hat on listening for ideas and writing them in my phone. When I sit down to write, I’ll see if any of those ideas hit me, if not, I’ll start with a chord progression and sing freely over it to see if any words spark an idea. Over the years, I’ve definitely taken the pressure off and just try to be grateful when I get the time to peacefully write alone or get wild and creative with some friends.
Do you feel the pandemic has helped or hurt your creative process?
I definitely like to write off of experiences and living life, so staying put hasn’t generated as many ideas as I would normally have in my day to day. I don’t think it’s hurt or helped haha, but it’s definitely made me anxious to get to creative in a studio with other musicians again!
What was your experience like on NBC’s The Voice? Would you say it was a positive and reassuring experience for your career, or just phony made-for-television entertainment?
I like to say my experience on The Voice was another bootcamp- I definitely learnt a lot! However, it was a really fast high and long low so that part wasn’t as positive to manage post-show. My one goal on the show was to put on a good performance and I feel like I accomplished that, so I can honestly say I walked away without any regrets.
Did you have any kind of working relationship with Blake Shelton behind the scenes?
Only when we worked on our songs but he was a great guy and definitely who you see on TV!
So I see earlier this year you released your single, “Eat Drink Remarry.” Sounds like it could be a personal song. Do you care to divulge influences and inspirations for it?
Well, funny thing, when I wrote the song, it wasn’t personal- I guess you could almost call it a foreshadow. I wrote it with Canadian country artist Emily Reid White a while ago. Fast forward a year after my break up, I was going through the Rolodex of old songs and came across it. I was previously engaged and couldn’t write a breakup song for the life of me. I really wanted to write something happy because I truly felt happy and free from my situation. I decided to record it because I felt like there were other women who could relate and other women who needed to hear this message.
Can fans expect to see it on an EP or LP?
Definitely an EP! But with all this time off, and all these songs piling up, anything could happen!
Where was it recorded and who helped it come to life?
The song was recorded here in Montreal with producer John Anthony Gagnon Robinette. He knew exactly where to take it sonically, to reintroduce me back into the country genre (I had been toying with a pop project post Voice) all the while giving me that vintage style that I love, like Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves.
How have you been maintaining momentum for your music during these tough times?
Honestly, the slow down has made me appreciate what I get to do even more. Having that kind of gratitude, I believe, has propelled the momentum. We ended up having a CMT Feature, Shania Twain added us to her play list, we reached over 100K on Spotify, and then hit 17K on a cover video in one weekend. All these little wins have been so amazing and have truly kept our spirits up and going!
Other than the music, what do you feel makes Nashville such a special place?
The people and the incredible stories from all over. It’s so magical. I think the fact that there are so many dreamers in one place, is what makes it incredibly special.
What are or were some of your favorite Nashville establishments? (venues, bars, coffee shops, etc.)
I have so many! Haha which is fun because now when I visit, I get to hit all my favorite spots. Coffee wise; I love Sam & Zoe’s, Cafe Rose, Frothy and Dose. My favorite bakery is Dozen’s Bakery (Best croissants!). I’m a big fan of Desano’s Pizza, Black Abbey Brewery and of course Mas Tacos. My favorite venue; The Basement and Basement East.
What might the latter half of the year have in store for Brittany Kennell?
Definitely going to be continuing on our project, just in a new creative way!